CHAMPAIGN COUNTY -- More people are following police on Twitter after WCIA's story on Sunday night. Urbana Police got about 40 new followers and Champaign Police also got several more.
Original: Sunday, January 13, 7:15 PM
CHAMPAIGN COUNTY -- Officers are using social media to keep you posted on what they're up to. They're turning to Twitter to spread information to people in central Illinois.
"I happened to see a tweet from the Urbana PD that there had been several break-ins in south Urbana, where I live," said Kristin Williamson. "Reminded me to check my car doors and check to make sure my garage was locked so I hopped up and did that."
Williamson said she likes to stay connected by tuning in to Twitter. So she started following the local cops when they signed up. Lieutenant Rich Surles tweets for the Urbana Police Department.
"If I can get the information to 500 people in the city and they tell three people and they tell three people, obviously the message spreads," said Surles.
Surles said they try to make information available without people having to search for it. He tries to keep the conversation casual.
"The majority of the time when I'm doing Facebook and Twitter, I'm at my house getting ready to eat dinner with my family and I sit down and I go through the news and I put things out," said Surles.
"It's a slow start for us but we're learning more and more each day about what kind of stuff to put out there and I think it's going well so far," said Champaign Police Lieutenant Jim Clark.
Four officers started sending tweets for the Champaign Police Department a few months ago. They keep people posted about what the officers are up to.
"We need to work with our community in order to interact better and in order to police the community better so it's important that they know what we do," said Clark.
People like Williamson said when officers tweet, they listen. And they're happy to connect with them in a new way.
"If we're more comfortable chatting them, then when we do see something that should maybe cause alarm or be suspicious, I think we're going to be more comfortable talking to them," said Williamson.
Click on the links below to see other officers on Twitter:
Urbana Police Department - Lt. Surles
Champaign Police Department
CPD - Lt. Clark
CPD - Lt. Robert Rea
CPD - Sgt. Tom Frost
CPD - Sgt. Bruce Ramseyer
Champaign County Sheriff's Department
Champaign County Crimestoppers
University of Illinois Police Department
Rantoul Police Department
Mahomet Police Department
MPD - Chief Michael Metzler
Clark County Sheriff's Department